Links for 9-13-2017

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  • American intelligence agencies are using technological progress as an excuse to erode Fourth Amendment rights. As far as the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is concerned, the fact that Yahoo scans emails for viruses means it’s OK for intelligence agencies to run software on Yahoo’s servers that scans for “selectors” that they find interesting.

  • Angelo Codevilla writes that the CIA has long been a tool of the American political left:

    In short, the CIA has always been part of the left wing of America’s ruling class. The “Russian hacking affair” is another instance of the perennial effort by which this class defends its claim to be the arbiter of truth and authority. Since the CIA has always possessed far fewer facts with far greater incertitude than the body politic imagines, it confuses its officials’ socio-political predilections with facts. Over more than a half-century, the CIA has purveyed them as facts because very few outsiders ever get behind its layered curtains of secrecy — which it flashes open for favorite journalists. Secrecy, which is essential to intelligence, presents a well-nigh irresistible temptation to cover insufficiency and self indulgence with the standard objection: “Our conclusions are based on facts of which you are not aware and that we cannot share with you.”

    Codevilla worked on the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, so he knows something about this.

  • The current suspect in the Berlin truck bombing is a Tunisian named Anis Amri. Earlier this year he was under surveillance because a tip suggested he was planning a terrorist attack. He was supposed to be deported but the fact that he had several false identification documents delayed the process. Before he arrived in Germany, Amri spent four years in an Italian prison for starting a fire at a school.

  • The recent problem with the U.S. Navy’s F/A–18 Super Hornets and EA–18G Growlers that resulted in a temporary grounding of the planes is related to over-pressurization of the cockpit, which resulted in a canopy failure that injured the crew.

  • Nolan Peterson visited Ukrainian soldiers on the front line. The ceasefire with separatists and Russian troops is in even worse shape than usual, with several Ukrainian soldiers killed and dozens injured the past few days. The U.S. supplied small drones to Ukrainian forces, but they’re easily jammed and hacked, making them useless.

  • Russia successfully flight tested a new anti-satellite missile, the PL–19 Nudol. This was the third successful test of the missile.

  • Israel informed the U.S. that Hezbollah is using American armored personnel carriers in Syria. Apparently they were originally provided to the Lebanese government.

Links for 9-28-2016

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  • The U.S. killed Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, the second-in-command of ISIS, in Syria. The Department of Defense isn’t providing any details of how this went down.

  • RedState: “Donald Trump is a Garbage Human Being Who is Leading a Movement of Other Garbage Human Beings”

  • Allahpundit’s reaction to the National Enquirer story about rumors of private investigators looking into allegations that Ted Cruz had affairs:

    My impression of Cruz, take it or leave it, is that he’s been running for president since he was six years old. Even to a supporter like me, he often comes off like a man who hasn’t had a thought in 20 years that wasn’t somehow devoted to advancing his career. His message discipline is so strict that he can seem, even in personal conversation, as someone not quite fully human. If you’ve never read it before, go read Andrew Ferguson’s story about trying to have a low-key chat with Cruz during a car ride after a long day of covering him, only to have Cruz mechanically lurch into one of his stump speeches — leading Ferguson to want to open the car door and throw himself into oncoming traffic. To his political rivals he’s famously calculating, and his campaign is acclaimed as the most well organized and disciplined in the field. He can seem at times less like a person than a highly advanced conservative robot that hasn’t quite made it all the way through the uncanny valley. As I say, better men than Cruz have been ruined by a weakness for skirt-chasing, but he strikes me as a guy who has, and has had, his eyes on the prize and only on the prize for a very long time. If this is anything more than a smear aimed at driving a wedge between a candidate and his evangelical fans, I’ll be surprised to put it mildly. But form your own judgment. I’ll never talk someone out of believing something they really want to believe

    Whatever else happens, though, I think we can now safely write off the chances of a Trump/Cruz unity ticket at the convention. If Cruz wasn’t #NeverTrump before, he will be soon: “I will say this, I do not make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family.”

  • Angelo Codevilla argues that President Obama effectively endorses the Cuban government’s use of hunger to control the island’s population:

    When Barack Obama dined at Castro’s in Havana, it may not have occurred to him that the vast majority of Cuba’s people are undernourished, and that keeping Cubans scrambling for their next meal is an essential part of the Castro regime’s hold on power.

    Later:

    Obama’s socio-political tribe has admired the Castro regime from its inception, envying its power to reshape society along common Progressive lines. The degree to which modern progressives yearn to do to America what Castro has done to Cuba may be seen in their lack of objection to, indeed support of, the Castro regime’s power to choose who will eat well and who will live on the edge.

    Later:

    Fishing is strictly limited. Slaughtering an animal is punishable by eight years’ imprisonment, and buying a piece of illegally slaughtered meat gets you three. Of course, millions of people in the countryside do such things, while city dwellers try to build connections with country folk who can deliver contraband. Minor officials collaborate by taking bribes. But this endemic corruption is as dangerous as it is essential to life.

  • Based on his reaction to the Brussels bombings while in Cuba and Argentina, Matthew Continetti writes that President Obama is “Our Secretary-General In Chief”:

    Rarely has Obama’s attitude toward terrorism been brought into such stark relief. Why does he respond so perfunctorily, so coolly, so stoically to the mayhem? Not because he lacks sympathy. Because he believes his job is to restrain America from overreaction, from hubris, from our worst instincts of imperialism and oppression.

    Yes, the thinking goes, ISIS and al Qaeda are threats to be fought, contained, defeated. But the greater threat, in Obama’s view, is that Americans may become scared, afraid, disrupted, divided. We might invade Iraq again, or cut off immigration and trade, or discriminate against the Muslim minority. That is the real danger against which this president stands. Terrorism will burn itself out. The problem of American maximalism remains.

    This is not the sort of thing you expect to hear from an American president. It’s what you expect from a secretary general of the United Nations, from the president of the European Commission, from the foreign ministry of France circa 2002. It’s the worldview of the international NGO, of the multilateral bureaucrat: Terrorism? We can manage. But the U.S. hyper-power? We’ve got to put a lid on this problem, stat.

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted a semi-submersible vessel containing $200 million worth of cocaine.

  • Some American intelligence analysts believe North Korea has developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead. Combined with North Korea’s recent claim to have successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket engine, they’re on course to build nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.

  • Iran is deploying special forces soldiers from its regular army to Syria and Iraq. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been fighting in Syria for some time, but deploying Iranian Army troops to Syria is new.

  • Egypt’s army claims it killed 60 Islamic militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

  • Russia plans to deploy missile defense systems and drones on the Kurile Islands, the ownership of which is disputed between Russia and Japan.

  • A Turkish court closed the espionage trial of two journalists to the public. Many people doubted the journalists would receive a fair trial, and this move reinforced the doubts.

Links for 3-22-2016